About Body Boat Blade

Body Boat Blade International is owned and operated by two of the most qualified, dedicated, and passionate instructors in the Pacific Northwest. We specialize in high quality instruction for paddlers at any skill level. Our certified instructors are committed to upholding the highest standards of coaching, leadership, and judgment in every program that we offer. To round out your learning experience, we offer year-round courses taught by world-renowned guest coaches.

Our home is Orcas Island Washington, a beautiful small island located in the San Juan Archipelago. We offer classes and trips in some of the best paddling destinations that exist. The San Juan Islands offer protected bays and lakes for beginners, tidal races, over falls, and complex navigation for the more advanced paddler. The nearby rugged Washington and British Columbia coasts offer excellent opportunities for our surf, white-water and expedition courses.

Flying ShawnaWe believe that kayaking is all about having fun. By increasing your skills you greatly increase the fun, excitement, and opportunities you have as a paddler. Our year-round courses range in length from three hours to five-day kayak camps. Our progressive curriculum includes fundamental skills training, surfing, rough water and tidal race paddling, leadership and guide training, British Canoeing (BC) training and assessments, video stroke analysis, navigation, expeditioning, white-water, and private instruction.

We are committed to using high quality boats, paddles and paddling equipment in all of our courses. This equipment is included in the course fee of all programs based on Orcas Island.

All coaches at Body Boat Blade International are British Canoeing certified, and work within the remit of their awards.

We invite you to come join us for an unforgettable learning experience!

The Symbol: The symbol, Leon claims, is a hieroglyph found in a deep sea cave in the Faroe Islands that signified simplicity, fun, and exploration by water. After seeing the symbol he began using it to mark his kayak gear to know it was his and not another paddler's (back in the day everybody had a Dancer kayak, a blue Protec helmet, a turquoise kokatat dry top and a blue shaft white bladed Werner paddle!). When Leon and Shawna started Body Boat Blade, Leon assumed Shawna, the artist, would create a logo, but instead she insisted on using the sacred image as the symbol of the business.

The Name: Body Boat Blade is a coaching philosophy and practice method used to analyze performance. By first looking at the body shape such as an upright posture, rotation, arms extended, wrist in line with elbow, you can start to understand the outcome of a given skill. Next looking at markers on the boat such as the tapeline or the end toggles you can determine edge, thrust, and spin. Lastly considering things associated with the blade such as its verticality, is it fully submerged?, is it out at the hips?, etc. All of these parameters are used by a coach to understand and help improve student’s performance. The order is always as written body-boat-blade, and therefore is considered a body centered approach to paddlesports. As any fault of performance in the boat or blade ultimately goes back to the shape of the body. Just watch a canoe without a paddler on a calm lake, it will not capsize, go on edge, turn, or accelerate! It will sit still and only perform by adding a body!

This approach we found to be a powerful tool in analysis and discovered it to be equally powerful as an approach to teaching skills. We found the name married nicely to the symbol and it became not so much a logo but more of a way of life on the water. A simple, fun exploration of water trough a blending of the body, boat, and blade.


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We believe that kayaking is all about having fun. By increasing your skills you greatly increase the fun...


Photos on this site are used with permission by the following photographers:

Bridget Ambrose, Justine Curgenven, Shawna Franklin, Guilliaume Godier, Svetlana Petrova, Bryan Smith


Body Boat Blade, International

PO Box 1487
Eastsound, WA 98245


(360) 376-5388

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